Sunday, July 4, 2021

Strike Commando – Severin Films (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Italy/Philippines, 1986
Director: Bruno Mattei
Writers: Rossella Drudi, Claudio Fragasso, Bruno Mattei
Cast: Reb Brown, Christopher Connelly, Louise Kamsteeg, Luciano Pigozzi, Alex Vitale, Karen Lopez

Release Date: June 22nd, 2021
Approximate Running Times: 91 Minutes 45 seconds (Theatrical Cut), 102 Minutes 9 Seconds (Extended Cut)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC (Both Versions)
Rating: R
Sound: LPCM Mono English, LPCM Mono Italian  (Both Versions)
Subtitles: English SDH  (Both Versions)
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $34.95

"Reb Brown (UNCOMMON VALOR) stars as Sgt. Mike Ransom, a one-man war machine on a screaming-for-vengeance mission against brutal Vietcong, merciless Russians, double-crossing U.S. officers and acres of bullet-blasted Philippines jungle." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.25/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "mastered in 2K from the original negative for the first time."

Strike Commando comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 39.1 GB

Feature: 34.6 GB

The source used for the transfer is in excellent shape, colors and flesh tones look correct and image clarity and black levels look strong throughout. That said, the extended footage also looks great.

Audio: 4/5

This release comes with two audio options, a LPCM mono mix in English and a LPCM mono mix in Italian. It should be noted that some scenes are only in English when watching the extended cut. Though both audio tracks sound very good, I listened to the English language track since there are no subtitles for the Italian language track. Dialog always comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and the action sequences sound robust. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. There are no subtitles for the Italian language track.

Extras:

Extras for this release include a trailer for Strike Commando (2 minutes 5 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), in-Production promo (2 minutes 32 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with screenwriter Rossella Drudi titled All Quiet on the Phillipine Front (13 minutes 11 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles) and an interview with co-director Claudio Fragasso titled War Machine (19 minutes 45 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles).

Summary:

There was a time when genre cinema clones were prevalent in Italian cinema. With these types of films reaching their apex by the early 1990’s. That said, there was no shortage of American films for the Italian’s to latch on to and make their versions Italian style. Case in point Strike Commando, a film that’s equal parts inspired by Vietnam war films and 1980’s bombastic action films that Hollywood were making.

Filmmaker Bruno Mattei was the creative force behind Strike Commando. Though he began his directing career in the late 1970’s just as Italian genre cinema was shrinking due to a lack of demand from investors outside of Italy. Somehow he was one of the rare exceptions of a director who managed to stay prolific throughout his four-decade career.

On paper Strike Commando most resembles a film like Rambo, albeit the distorted lens of Italian cinema. And though there are many instances where Italian genre films are wholesale clones of an American film. That’s not the case with Strike Commando, by the time it reaches its conclusion it no longer resembles any of the films that influenced it. That said, though the narrative is best described as anemic, this quickly becomes an afterthought since Strike Commando’s bread and butter are its outlandish action set pieces.

Strike Commando gets a solid release from Severin Films that comes with two versions of the film and a pair of insightful extras, highly recommended.








Written by Michael Den Boer

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